The CW series The Vampire Diaries has done the impossible – wrapping up on its own terms, after eights seasons and over 170 episodes of television, and ending on a high note. The penultimate episode, entitled “We’re Planning a June Wedding,” has a looming threat that puts the fate of Mystic Falls in eminent danger, but at the same time, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Caroline (Candice King) get to share a moment of beauty at the wedding that they’ve been fighting to have, all season.
To celebrate the end of the run for the show, the network hosted a screening for a handful of media outlets, and actors Paul Wesley (“Stefan Salvatore”), Ian Somerhalder (“Damon Salvatore”), Michael Malarkey (“Enzo”) and Zach Roerig (“Matt Donovan”) chatted about all things The Vampire Diaries and what’s still to come for the final episode, airing on March 10th. During the interview, they talked about their favorite memories from the run of the series, the experience of filming the wedding, the emotions that came with reading the final script, returning characters, how fans might react to the final two episodes, what the atmosphere was like on set for their final scenes, what they took from the set, what they would say to their fans to help them get over the end of the series, and why they think it’s important to close this chapter of their lives now. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.
Question: What are your favorite memories from the past eight seasons?
PAUL WESLEY: Off the top of my head, I don’t really have a favorite memory, but in the general sense, as an actor, you audition for something, you get a job, you shoot that job, and then you go away and shoot the next job. It all comes and goes. And with something like this, I never knew, walking into that room, that it was going to be eight years of my life. I started the job as a certain kind of person, and I left a completely different person. It’s shaped my entire existence, or at least a lot of my formative years, in my 20s. This show is going to forever be ingrained in my personality, which is a major deal. I didn’t sign up for that, when I walked into the audition, but I’m very grateful for it. It’s amazing! I’m scarred for life.
ZACH ROERIG: My favorite memory would be the pilot. A lot of us were very young, and it was early in our careers. There was a certain excitement. There was an electric buzz in Vancouver, that we all felt, especially around the casting of Stefan. Most of us were there in Vancouver, waiting to see who they were going to cast.
WESLEY: Yeah, I was the last guy cast.
ROERIG: I remember Kayla Ewell and Nina [Dobrev] floating around pictures on their phones of who they might pick, and I saw a picture of Paul. It was the beginning of the very formative years of all of our lives, I guess. Vancouver definitely sticks out in my mind.
MICHAEL MALARKEY: For me, it was also the beginning. That first episode that I shot, with Ian [Somerhalder] in the cell, felt like we were shooting this little short film. All my scenes, we were shooting together, and we just had this instant connection and understanding of each other. When you come onto a show late in the game, it’s rare you have that synergy with one of the main actors on the show. I found that, subsequently, with the rest of the cast and was embraced into this world. I feel like I’ve been there forever. It all started with that episode, so that’s my most pivotal and favorite memory.
IAN SOMERHALDER: You have to realize that it’s 171 episodes, at a minimum of eight days per episode and sometimes ten, so you’re look at hundreds and hundreds of days. The newness of it, in the beginning, was really special, with the bonding of this cast and crew. That’s what you miss most, when you leave these things. It’s not performing every day, or the writing. You miss the cast and the crew. You miss all the people who make it work because you, effectively, become a family. Paul and I have been joking for years, while we’re killing each other or staking people. In the middle of it, all of a sudden, there’s a fart joke, and you’re just hysterically laughing while everyone is covered in blood. There were these really funny juxtapositions, and there are just too many to count. It’s an era of our lives. I’m 38. Eight years of that is a substantial part of your life.
WESLEY: We watched Episode 5 in my apartment, with a bunch of people. I think that’s when we were like, “Oh, shit, this show is pretty good!” It was this episode called “Lost Girls.”
SOMERHALDER: It’s my favorite episode, ever.
WESLEY: Mine, too. Ian and I watched the episode together, and that’s when we were both like, “This is really good!” That was a great moment.
SOMERHALDER: My business manager was in town, and he’s like a big brother of mine. We were sitting in Paul’s gorgeous apartment in Atlanta, and the episode ended and he was just like, “Wow! This is gonna go, guys. This is going to be here for awhile. You should probably dig your heels in.” Go back and watch “Lost Girls.” It’s a really phenomenally crafted episode of television. It might be a teen vampire soap opera, but it’s a great piece of television.
WESLEY: Not every episode is, “Oh, my god!”
SOMERHALDER: But, that one was special.